The User's Guide to Postmodern "Emergent" Christianity

     Step one is essential: "Get in the loop!" What does this mean, you ask? Well, this thought pattern is almost everything you'll need to stay clueless within the confines of Postmodern Christianity. Once you start thinking this way, you'll never get out of "the loop." It goes like this:

     "Mean, angry, narrow-minded and judgmental people are bad, and whatever they believe is instantly invalidated by the fact that they are judgmental, narrow-minded, angry and mean. I get to decide if, and when, they are mean, angry, narrow-minded and judgmental."

     Once you're safely in this loop you won't need to carefully consider the truth claims of another believer with their precious little Bible verses. And, thankfully, you'll never have to learn anything about the theology and creeds that have been passed down for almost two thousand years. Remember, there are still old-fashioned Christians who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, and they are mean, angry, narrow-minded and judgmental. These dinosaurs want to conduct church the same old way and cling to antiquated beliefs that are out of step with today's social climate. You can easily ignore these people if you're "in the loop." Before you know it, you will have completely dehumanized them and it won't even faze you that you've been the judgmental one all along! 

 

      To follow step two, say something like this: "That may be true for you, but it's not true for me." In days of old, this was only used for superficial matters, like one's preference of Mary Ann over Ginger. But nowadays this simplistic catch phrase serves a vital new purpose: it enables anyone to ignore God's Word with impunity. It used to be that a Christian couldn't just go around rearranging and reinterpreting the Bible, but now it's easy! You may substitute similar catch phrases like "I just feel like it's not wrong for me" or you can even quote that great Bible verse: "What is truth? asked Pilate..."

      Step three, in case you haven't already figured it out, is this: Don't take the Bible very serious at all, just give it lip-service. I know, I know, this sounds extreme, but remember this is Postmodern Christianity. Postmodernity is a belief system that says that no belief system is true. It's absolutely certain that nothing is absolutely certain. The Bible is full of absolute truth claims, that's why it's so exclusive, hateful and out-of-date. However, you will still need to make reference to it on occasion, so it's good to have some overly simplistic proof-texts handy. "Thou shall not judge" is the all-time most popular proof-text, so feel free to use it as often as you want. Just remember not to read the entire passage in the actual Bible, otherwise you'll see what Jesus really meant. You can even misquote it like this: "Who are we to judge?" or "Only God can judge-that's not my job!"

 

      The Bible has clear rules about what is right and wrong, so you will need to avoid all of that. Remember, people generally hate God's rules, so you need to stay on their side; instead, make those Bible thumping "traditional" Christians seem like the real problem, i.e. they're bad because they think they're better than anyone else. You must ignore the fact that true Bible-believing Christians don't think they're better than anyone else, they are simply pointing to the unchangeable truth of God's Word as the only ultimate authority. Furthermore, the Gospel itself is only "Good News" because Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins... and we couldn't even have sins unless we were guilty of breaking God's commandments... and since God Himself gave us His commandments we are clearly guilty and in need of a Savior.... do you see how this all falls apart if you start reading the Bible? You'll just turn into a regular Christian-ugh!

     Instead of that, keep it simple and just say something like "I believe the way of Jesus is love" or "I believe God just wants everyone to be happy in their own way." Nobody's going to argue with that, right? For more ideas on how to misquote God's Word, just listen to any interview with Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, Tony Jones or any of the hip new emergent leaders. With a good dose of sincerity and direct eye contact (plus some emotional background music), you can say almost anything in the name of Jesus!

     Finally, when in doubt, always prefer ambiguity over certainty and truth. Ambiguity is the magic glue that holds Postmodern Christianity together. What does this mean? I don't know, what do you think it means? Is it possible that the ambiguity of uncertainty is really just the context from within which our sense of community can emerge? I don't know, I'm just asking the question, because the beauty of relationship reveals itself through the self-discovery process, as we all find personal meaning collectively and individually. I'm not saying that anyone's version of truth is right or wrong; I'm just asking questions so that a dialogue can be established. Maybe there's a better way, a way where all of our collective narratives can form a cohesive, yet multi-faceted story. Maybe this new meta-narrative can lead us to a place where fear and hatred will be replaced by mystery, beauty, and ongoing book sales. A place with well-attended conferences and substantial speaking fees, a place of extensive radio and T.V. interviews and, ultimately, a regular guest position with Oprah. We must dream. We must hope. We must never reach any conclusions.

(See how easy this is?)

 

Now get out there and confuse everyone! You can do it!! 


Here's a great episode of Fighting for the Faith to help you understand Postmodernism better: A Beginner's Guide to Post-Modernity

Check out this article (with a TON of links) from the Berean Examiner: Postmodern Christianity's End Game?

For a serious look at the "Emerging/Postmodern" church, please watch this extensive video:

For an extensive and serious understanding of Postmodernism please listen to this audio book from Professor Stephen Hicks:

(Thanks to the folks at Pyromaniacs for the memes)

 

 

Andy Stanley's "Aftermath" Series: Rejecting the Bible to Foster Faith?

  (The "aftermath" of this sermon series should be the complete rejection of Andy Stanley's heretical teaching) 

(The "aftermath" of this sermon series should be the complete rejection of Andy Stanley's heretical teaching) 

In Andy Stanley's latest series, called "Aftermath," he suggests that Christians can unhinge their faith from the Bible while attaching their faith to the historically reliable resurrection of Christ (which is something we learn about from the Bible). Along with propagating doubt in God's Word, Andy Stanley is teaching a modern version of Marcionism, which is an ancient heresy that eliminates the Old Testament. Here are some recent articles that explain this in greater detail:

Andy Stanley's Modern Marcionism by Wesley Hill

Moralistic Therapeutic Marcionism by Rod Dreher

Marcion and Getting Unhitched from the Old Testament by Kevin DeYoung

 

Here are some direct quotes from this truly bizarre and confusing "sermon" series:

Jesus’s most devout first-century followers never owned a Bible, never read a Bible, they couldn’t have read the Bible if there was a Bible because most of them couldn’t read and there was no Bible to read. And yet, these men and woman turned the world upside down, they’re the reason we’re here today worshipping Jesus but they never held a Bible because there was no Bible until the fourth century. Why are you so quickly persuaded to walk away from faith because of a book that didn’t exist when Christianity began?
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 1, April 14, 2018
In order to remain irresistible, I noticed something we needed to address. And it had nothing to do with how we do church, it had everything to do with how we talk about the Bible, and specifically what we point to as the foundation of faith, which for most Christians, unfortunately, is the Bible.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 1, April 14, 2018
Many of you-I’m in this group-we were raised to believe that the foundation of our faith is the Bible; that as the Bible goes, so goes our faith, and if some of it’s not true then none of it can be trusted; it’s a house of cards.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 1, April 14, 2018
Screen Shot 2018-05-20 at 6.41.21 PM.png

It only took about ten minutes into the first sermon for Stanley to dismantle the authority of the Bible and give high praise to the sincerity and intelligence of atheists like Sam Harris, but then he spends the rest of the "sermon" talking about the ministry of Jesus and the early church while quoting from the Bible. But the obvious question should be: why is he using the Bible at all? 

Here is an excellent podcast from Matthew Garnett that carefully dissects the flawed and dangerous content of the first sermon, which was called Aftermath Part 1: Stand Alone:

Andy Stanley: "Christians Created the Bible" In Layman's Terms by Matthew Garnett

 

Here are some more direct quotes:

The first-century Christians had a very different kind of foundation for their faith than many of us have. Many of us were raised to believe that the foundation of our belief is the Bible, but they didn’t have a Bible, the Bible wouldn’t come until the early fourth century. What they based their faith on was an event-specifically the resurrection of Jesus, and this should be the reason we choose to follow as well.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 2, April 21, 2018
When Paul’s eyes were opened he had extraordinary clarity around the incompatibility of the Old and New Testaments.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 2, April 21, 2018
The Bible teaches that God mostly loves Jews AND the Bible teaches that God loves everybody; they are two incompatible covenants.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 2, April 21, 2018
I’m telling you, you take Old Testament values and imperatives and you mix them with New (Testament values and imperatives), you end up with a mess, and you end up with a message that unnecessarily drives people away from the Gospel. And once upon a time this wasn’t all that big of a deal, because once upon a time nobody knew that much about the Bible and they couldn’t find out much about the Bible unless they went to a library, but now everybody is one click away from whatever information they need to dismiss their faith, including your children and grandchildren.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 2, April 21, 2018
(On the public display of the Ten Commandments:) Jews aren’t for this, and it’s their law. You don’t see Jewish groups saying ‘We need the Ten Commandments on the courthouse lawn!’ Jewish people are like: ‘It’s over, it’s over...’ and the Christians are like: ‘No! It’s not over, we wanna keep it alive!’ And the Jewish people are like ‘I don’t think you’ve read it carefully.’ Cause they’re smarter than us about THEIR scripture.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 2, April 21, 2018
The gig is up. The truth is out there. We can’t hide anymore. So let me be super honest: We can’t hide behind the Ten Commandments anymore because everybody has discovered that the Ten Commandments aren’t the only commandments; the Ten Commandments are the table of contents for the whole Jewish law.
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 2, April 21, 2018
Originally in my notes I was gonna put a screen up here that said ‘In other words that means thou shalt not obey the ten commandments,’ but I knew someone would take a picture of that and it would define me for the rest of my life, so I’m not gonna put that up there...
— Andy Stanley, Aftermath Part 3, April 28, 2018

Here is a terrific video from Chris Rosebrough reviewing Andy Stanley's third sermon in the series called Aftermath Part 3: Not Difficult:

 

This latest series from Andy Stanley is not much different than some of the other disturbing things he has been teaching for years. For much more information see: 

The Andy Stanley Cornucopia of False Teaching, Fast Talking & Postmodern Ambiguity

The User's Guide to Postmodern "Emergent" Christianity

     Step one is essential: "Get in the loop!" What does this mean, you ask? Well, this thought pattern is almost everything you'll need to stay clueless within the confines of Postmodern Christianity. Once you start thinking this way, you'll never get out of "the loop." It goes like this:

     "Mean, angry, narrow-minded and judgmental people are bad, and whatever they believe is instantly invalidated by the fact that they are judgmental, narrow-minded, angry and mean. I get to decide if, and when, they are mean, angry, narrow-minded and judgmental."

     Once you're safely in this loop you won't need to carefully consider the truth claims of another believer with their precious little Bible verses. And, thankfully, you'll never have to learn anything about the theology and creeds that have been passed down for almost two thousand years. Remember, there are still old-fashioned Christians who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, and they are mean, angry, narrow-minded and judgmental. These dinosaurs want to conduct church the same old way and cling to antiquated beliefs that are out of step with today's social climate. You can easily ignore these people if you're "in the loop." Before you know it, you will have completely dehumanized them and it won't even faze you that you've been the judgmental one all along! 

 

      To follow step two, say something like this: "That may be true for you, but it's not true for me." In days of old, this was only used for superficial matters, like one's preference of Mary Ann over Ginger. But nowadays this simplistic catch phrase serves a vital new purpose: it enables anyone to ignore God's Word with impunity. It used to be that a Christian couldn't just go around rearranging and reinterpreting the Bible, but now it's easy! You may substitute similar catch phrases like "I just feel like it's not wrong for me" or you can even quote that great Bible verse: "What is truth? asked Pilate..."

      Step three, in case you haven't already figured it out, is this: Don't take the Bible very serious at all, just give it lip-service. I know, I know, this sounds extreme, but remember this is Postmodern Christianity. Postmodernity is a belief system that says that no belief system is true. It's absolutely certain that nothing is absolutely certain. The Bible is full of absolute truth claims, that's why it's so exclusive, hateful and out-of-date. However, you will still need to make reference to it on occasion, so it's good to have some overly simplistic proof-texts handy. "Thou shall not judge" is the all-time most popular proof-text, so feel free to use it as often as you want. Just remember not to read the entire passage in the actual Bible, otherwise you'll see what Jesus really meant. You can even misquote it like this: "Who are we to judge?" or "Only God can judge-that's not my job!"

 

      The Bible has clear rules about what is right and wrong, so you will need to avoid all of that. Remember, people generally hate God's rules, so you need to stay on their side; instead, make those Bible thumping "traditional" Christians seem like the real problem, i.e. they're bad because they think they're better than anyone else. You must ignore the fact that true Bible-believing Christians don't think they're better than anyone else, they are simply pointing to the unchangeable truth of God's Word as the only ultimate authority. Furthermore, the Gospel itself is only "Good News" because Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins... and we couldn't even have sins unless we were guilty of breaking God's commandments... and since God Himself gave us His commandments we are clearly guilty and in need of a Savior.... do you see how this all falls apart if you start reading the Bible? You'll just turn into a regular Christian-ugh!

     Instead of that, keep it simple and just say something like "I believe the way of Jesus is love" or "I believe God just wants everyone to be happy in their own way." Nobody's going to argue with that, right? For more ideas on how to misquote God's Word, just listen to any interview with Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, Tony Jones or any of the hip new emergent leaders. With a good dose of sincerity and direct eye contact (plus some emotional background music), you can say almost anything in the name of Jesus!

     Finally, when in doubt, always prefer ambiguity over certainty and truth. Ambiguity is the magic glue that holds Postmodern Christianity together. What does this mean? I don't know, what do you think it means? Is it possible that the ambiguity of uncertainty is really just the context from within which our sense of community can emerge? I don't know, I'm just asking the question, because the beauty of relationship reveals itself through the self-discovery process, as we all find personal meaning collectively and individually. I'm not saying that anyone's version of truth is right or wrong; I'm just asking questions so that a dialogue can be established. Maybe there's a better way, a way where all of our collective narratives can form a cohesive, yet multi-faceted story. Maybe this new meta-narrative can lead us to a place where fear and hatred will be replaced by mystery, beauty, and ongoing book sales. A place with well-attended conferences and substantial speaking fees, a place of extensive radio and T.V. interviews and, ultimately, a regular guest position with Oprah. We must dream. We must hope. We must never reach any conclusions.

(See how easy this is?)

 

Now get out there and confuse everyone! You can do it!! 


Here's a great episode of Fighting for the Faith to help you understand Postmodernism better: A Beginner's Guide to Post-Modernity

Check out this article (with a TON of links) from the Berean Examiner: Postmodern Christianity's End Game?

For a serious look at the "Emerging/Postmodern" church, please watch this extensive video:

For an extensive and serious understanding of Postmodernism please listen to this audio book from Professor Stephen Hicks:

(Thanks to the folks at Pyromaniacs for the memes)

 

 

Rob Bell is No Victim by Marcia Montenegro

Here's a brief guest post by Marcia Montenegro:

An article by John Pavlovitz about Rob Bell criticizes Christian critics of Bell for being unloving towards Rob Bell. I agree we should not be “unloving” towards anyone, including Rob Bell. But I think this is a "straw man" argument and serves only to make light of Bell's steady drift from the historic Christian faith. The article describes it as this:

"He deviated. He dared to ask questions. He challenged the status quo. He moved against the grain."

Bell went much further than just “deviating” and "asking questions." That was not the problem. What Bell did was question the truth of God's word as well as some major doctrines. In fact, I think Christians were slow to recognize problems with Bell, starting with his book, "Velvet Elvis." It took a long time for voices to be heard and even then, it was not that many. Yet Pavlovitz's article makes Bell sound like a victim:

"As so often happens in the modern Church, he was intentionally and mercilessly pushed to the margins of the Christian community, just a few feet from irrelevance. There he would be left to languish for a few months before hopefully dissolving into obscurity."

I don't think Bell was treated “mercilessly.” What happened is that as Bell continued his drift from sound doctrine, many churches and conferences no longer wanted to book him. Well, that is a consequence of Bell's choices and ideas. It's on him.

The article denies that Bell is “softening the Gospel” or denying orthodox doctrine. Rather,

"Bell’s been doing something very brave. Something many pastors overseeing churches in this country would never do, but many in their congregations wish they would do. He’s admitting the real questions that surface in the excavation of deep faith. He’s looking to separate what in this religion is of God and what is of people. He’s asking why we believe what we believe, and asking believers to do the same."

Bell's words and actions indicate a rejection of the Christian faith as delivered one for all to the saints. This is not being "brave." I have tracked this since “Velvet Elvis” through NOOMA videos and his recent participation with uber New Ager Deepak Chopra.

Serious red flags appeared in Bell's first book, “Velvet Elvis." For example, Bell gives a positive recommendation of Ken Wilber and advises his readers to take 3 months to read Wilber's book, “A Theory of Everything” (which I've read). Wilber, an admitted Perennialist, is a nondualist and the architect of Integral Spirituality, which is mostly based in Eastern spirituality (especially Buddhism). What Christian would positively point anyone to Ken Wilber, whose beliefs have influenced many to his kind of anti-Christian worldview?

There were other red flags in the book, including misinterpretation of Scripture, but Bell's advocacy of Wilber was the most startling and most disturbing to me.

The article continues to bring Bell's critics to task for “destroying” Bell. Again, I repeat that I am against any harsh or unloving treatment of anyone, and I admit some may have been this way toward Bell. However, any articles I read critiquing Bell were not harsh towards Bell but rather expressed grave concerns about Bell's ever-changing theology that was spinning rapidly away from sound doctrine.

Not only that, Christians were and are concerned with Bell's influence on the church and on younger Christians, and that concern has been validated. The Emergent movement, of whom Bell was a spokesperson and leader, has considerably damaged the church in such a way that those influenced now question absolute truth, the Bible as God's word (Bell denied the Bible as God's word years ago), that we can know anything for certain, the doctrine of hell, how people are redeemed, the nature of Christ (which is rather panentheistic in “Love Wins”), and other core beliefs of the faith.

This attack on Bell's critics reminds me of William P. Young stating, with no evidence at all, that critics of his book "The Shack," did not read it. It's a way to deflect attention from the author's theological problems onto those pointing them out.       -Marcia Montenegro

 


ROB BELL'S LOVE WINS: AN EVALUATION BY MARCIA MONTENEGRO

Please check out Marcia's extensive website for more information: Christian Answers for the New Age

Here's a GREAT video that carefully examines the "Postmodern/Emergent Church" movement:

Here's a fascinating interview between Marcia Montenegro & Steve Kozar: Marcia Montenegro: Astrologer Overtaken by the Love of God

Check out the review of Rob Bell's new book on the podcast In Layman's Terms

 

Just for fun...

The Andy Stanley Cornucopia of False Teaching, Fast Talking & Postmodern Ambiguity

Andy Stanley is one of America's top pastors; he is probably one of the top three most influential pastors in the U.S.A. today. Unlike many of the more blatantly heretical pastors that are critiqued on Pirate Christian Media, Stanley has a very mainstream reputation and following. Most Evangelical Christians can't even imagine that he might be leading them astray because much of what he says sounds pretty good; it sounds pretty "normal." He is seen as a pastor who is simply taking traditional, Biblical Christianity into the future by re-packaging it and re-interpreting it for non-Christians. Because Stanley works hard to appeal to a postmodern audience, much of what he says can be interpreted multiple ways, so there is much disagreement about his teaching and what he "actually means." This kind of confusion is not good.

  • On one hand, he says that "it's next to impossible to defend the entire Bible," and says that "the Bible is not the foundation of our faith;" but he later tells his audience how he loves the Bible and reads it every day. The North Point website states "We believe the Bible is without error."

  • He claims that pastors should "take the focus off the Bible on put it on the resurrection," but we know about the resurrection because it's written about in the Bible. Stanley seems incapable of simply saying that the Bible is God's Word and it's historically dependable. 

  • He repeatedly claims that the early church had no Bible at all until well into the third century, even though that is historically incoherent and dishonest. The early church had the separate books of the Bible before they were bound together in one volume.  

  • He invented something he calls "the temple model" and claims that all false religions (including the Old Testament Jewish religion established by God) had a "sacred text," a "sacred space" and a "sacred man." He claims that these three things need to be eliminated, because he thinks that Jesus taught this (even though Jesus never actually taught this). Incidentally, he is still the senior pastor (sacred man) of North Point Church (sacred space) who makes frequent reference to the Bible (sacred text). He has veered towards eliminating the Bible, though... 

 

What is Andy Stanley very clear about? He seems to have tremendous confidence in his own ability to convince everyone of whatever he currently believes is important. He appears to have much more confidence in himself than the Word of God. Judging by the infrequent use of Scripture in his sermons and his willingness to erode confidence in the Bible, it really seems like Andy Stanley is happy to be the focal point of his church. Although he claims to be directing attention to Jesus, it's impossible to know which Jesus he's talking about, because without the objective Word of God as the reference, he ends up making himself the authority over who Jesus really is and what Jesus really taught. 

If the following articles, podcasts and videos are any indication, a substantial case can be made that Andy Stanley is doing more than just explaining the "faith once handing down to the saints" to a new generation. There is troubling evidence that Stanley is trying to change the meaning, definition and purpose of the Church itself.

 

These articles are from different Christians from various theological and denominational backgrounds (although there are a lot of Baptists), but they all have concerns about the un-Biblical, confusing and sometimes dangerous teachings coming from Andy Stanley:

Andy Stanley's "Aftermath" Series: Rejecting the Bible to Foster Faith? 

"The Bible Says So" Is Enough: A Response to Andy Stanley by Gabe Hughes

3 Nagging Problems with Andy Stanley's Approach to the Bible by Jared C. Wilson

Andy Stanley's Approach to the Virgin Birth by Gerald Harris

For the Bible Tells Me So: Biblical Authority Denied… Again by Albert Mohler

Is the Bible Foundational to Christianity? Engaging with Andy Stanley by Michael Kruger

Andy Stanley's Relentless Attacks on Christianity and Covering His Tracks (with links to more articles) by Jeff Maples

Andy Stanley’s Statements about the Bible are not Cutting Edge-They’re Old Liberalism by David Prince

The Always Ambiguous Andy Stanley by Will Sanders

These Words Shall Be on Your Heart by Gabe Hughes

Andy Stanley's Dishonest, Deceptive, and Dangerous Teaching by Philip Lee

"Love the Way You Turn Me On!" at North Point Church in the Museum of Idolatry

Andy Stanley and the "NEW Hermeneutic" by John Barber

Andy Stanley and the "New" Christianity's "Bibliolatry" by Lighthouse Trails Research

Andy Stanley, Megachurches, and the Bullying of Christ’s Bride by Nate Pickowicz

On the Road to Emmaus: A Response to Andy Stanley's Sermon "The Bible Told Me So" by Rustin Umstattd

Problems at Andy Stanley's North Point Church?(With links to more content) by Christine Pack

Andy Stanley: You’re Not Smart Enough If You’re Not In “One of Our Churches” (Doubling Down on Unnecessary Scripture) by Bud Ahlheim

Deep and Wide book review by Gary Gilley

Andy Stanley’s Apology, and Some Mega-questions for the Megachurch by Jonathan Aigner

SBC Conference: “Get The Spotlight Off The Bible" by Bud Ahlheim

Andy Stanley Trashes Expository Preaching; Calls it “Easy” and “Cheating” by J.D. Hall

Andy Stanley-We Can't Arrive at the Empty Tomb Without the Bible by Josh Buice

Andy Stanley, do you really want Christians to keep Christ out of business? by Bryan Fischer

Andy Stanley Clarifies -Stop Praying for Local Church Revival and Get Busy by David Prince

Superstar Mega-church Preacher Man Andy Stanley: Scripture Can’t Be Defended by Bud Ahlheim

The Care and Feeding of God's Flock by Phil Johnson

Andy Stanley’s Troubling New Sermon by Alexander Griswold

Is the Megachurch the New Liberalism? by Albert Mohler

Andy Did It Again by Todd Pruitt

Andy Stanley’s Troubling Rules on Love, Sex, and Dating by Chelsen Vicari

True Stories from the Messed Up Church: Andy Stanley's North Point Church

Russell Moore, Andy Stanley Our Evangelical Pope? Red Grace Media Podcast

Many Fighting for the Faith Episodes Featuring Andy Stanley by Chris Rosebrough

Here's a YouTube video from James White, who does an extended review of Any Stanley's recent "Who Needs God" series (more Andy Stanley reviews are on his "Alpha & Omega Ministries" channel).

“Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit.”
Clement of Rome

“Read again and again the divine Scriptures; nay, let the Holy Book never be out of your hands. Learn, that you may teach.” Jerome

“We must surrender ourselves to the authority of Holy Scripture, for it can neither mislead nor be misled.”   Augustine

“Whom God intends to destroy, He gives them leave to play with Scripture.” Martin Luther

“Scripture is the Holy Spirit’s school where everything we need to know is taught and where nothing is taught that is unnecessary.” John Calvin

“And yet some people actually imagine that the revelation in God’s Word is not enough to meet our needs. They think that God from time to time carries on an actual conversation with them, chatting with them, satisfying their doubts, testifying to His love for them, promising them support and blessings. As a result, their emotions soar; they are full of bubbling joy that is mixed with self-confidence and a high opinion of themselves. The foundation for these feelings, however, does not lie within the Bible itself, but instead rests on the sudden creations of their imaginations. These people are clearly deluded. God’s Word is for all of us and each of us; He does not need to give particular messages to particular people.” Jonathan Edwards

“Indeed, since the entirety of Scripture is the Word of the Lord, no testimony could possibly be better, more certain or more efficacious. For if God, who cannot lie, has spoken something in His own Scripture, which is itself the mirror of His will, then it is true.” John Wycliffe

“Try all things by the written word, and let all bow down before it. You are in danger of [fanaticism] every hour, if you depart ever so little from Scripture; yea, or from the plain, literal meaning of an text, taken in connection with the context.” John Wesley

“Let us receive nothing, believe nothing, follow nothing which is not in the Bible, nor can be proved by the Bible.” J.C. Ryle

“If we once get above our Bibles and cease making the written Word of God our sole rule as to faith and practice, we shall too lie open to all manner of delusion and be in great danger of making shipwreck of faith and a good conscience.”  George Whitfield

“The Bible is the Word of God in such a way that when the Bible speaks, God speaks.” B.B. Warfield

"If there be anything in the church to which you belong which is contrary to the inspired Word, leave that church." Charles Spurgeon

“There is not better book with which to defend the Bible than the Bible itself.”  D.L. Moody

"Christianity is founded upon the Bible. It bases upon the Bible both its thinking and its life." J. Gresham Machen

“We must stress that the basis for our faith is neither experience nor emotion but truth as God has given it in verbalized, propositional form in the Scripture and which we first apprehend with our minds.”  Francis Schaeffer

“There is no substitute for submission to Scripture. Your spiritual health depends on placing the utmost value on the Word of God and obeying it with an eager heart.”  John MacArthur

Our spiritual maturity will never exceed our knowledge of the Bible.”  Albert Mohler

Submission to the Scriptures is submission to God. Rebellion against the Scriptures is rebellion against God.”  Kevin DeYoung

"The idea of sola Scriptura is that there is only one written source of divine revelation, which can never be placed on a parallel status with confessional statements, creeds, or the traditions of the church. Scripture alone has the authority to bind the conscience precisely because only Scripture is the written revelation of almighty God." R. C. Sproul  

“The inerrancy of Holy Scripture is the watershed theological issue in the church today–as it has been in every generation since the rise of modern secularism and rationalistic biblical criticism. Every single denomination, theological seminary, and Christian college that has departed from it has begun an inexorable decline and loss of biblical witness. The saving gospel itself cannot be sustained apart from a trustworthy Scripture. Any other position displays appalling naïveté and ignorance of the history of the modern church both in Europe and in America.”  John Warwick Montgomery

"The teacher does well to keep this truth in mind. In our day it has become the fashion to say, 'We believe in a Person (meaning Jesus Christ), not in a Book.' Let us not be taken in by such a remark. We know Jesus only as he is made known by the Book, the Bible. True faith in him is created by the Holy Spirit only through the Book. In most cases, the above reasoning is used to COVER UP AN ATTEMPT TO FASHION A DIFFERENT JESUS AND A DIFFERENT 'FAITH' - BOTH MORE TO ONE'S OWN LIKING."  Werner Franzmann  

 

"It is next to impossible to defend the entire Bible." Andy Stanley


For those who think it's mean, judgmental and un-loving to criticize Andy Stanley/North Point Church (or any other popular teacher/church) here's something just for you: Shocking Stuff You're Not Supposed to Know.

If you're having a knee-jerk reaction to try and defend this man's ideas, check out: Confirmation Bias: Why You Are Protecting Your False Beliefs.

Here's a very extensive documentary exposing the problems with the "Seeker-Friendly" church model: Church of Tares: Purpose Driven, Seeker Sensitive

Finally, here's an article that will help you be more discerning and a lot less gullible: Defusing Demonic Dirty Bombs.

 

-This article by Steven Kozar

"Hipster Pietistic Christians Having Coffee"

These are a couple of short videos promoting a Zondervan book called "Jesus, Bread and Chocolate:"

Here's the second video (it's mostly all about coffee):

Some Christians are involved in what coffee experts are calling the Third Wave; which is the trend of much better coffee being produced and sold. Somehow this is supposed to tell us something about our faith, according to the book's author John J. Thompson.

     Thompson asks:

 "Is it possible, that our culture's re-engagement with hand-crafted local things and experiences might contain the echo of a still small voice calling us home to our truer selves? What might a batch of artisanal chocolate or a fresh-baked loaf of bread or a cup of home-roasted, carefully brewed coffee tell us about ourselves, our nature or our faith?"

Here's the answer to that deep, philosophical question:

We like better tasting ("artisanal") food and beverages because they taste better!

 Plus, making stuff ourselves can be a great hobby, too. It might even become a business (my business is making paintings). But if we want to learn "about ourselves, our nature or our faith," we should look to God's Word.

There, now you don't need to buy this book.

Thompson continues: 

"The growing underground commitment to alternative values is re-emerging from a centuries old slumber. Things like local communities, sustainability, social justice and artisanal beauty are captivating the hearts and minds of a generation unwilling to settle for literal or spiritual junk food. When I stop and listen, smell and taste, I'm reminded that there's more here than meets the eye. Maybe we can regain a taste for the good, the true and the beautiful, in ways that energize us on our journey, and encourage others to come along."

There is so much theologically weird about that whole paragraph, I'm not sure where to start... 

What is this "growing commitment to alternative values?" What does that actually even mean? Do we Christians really need to learn about alternative values from whoever these people are? Who is this generation that is "unwilling to settle for literal or spiritual junk food?" Exactly what is "spiritual junk food?" Maybe this book makes some valid critiques of the seeker-friendly mega-churches; I'm not sure. But, I wonder, is "this generation" a reference to the millennium generation that is abandoning the Church, the Bible and Christianity faster than you can carefully make a pour-over carafe of coffee? Do we really want to learn about our faith from the trends associated with this generation? I would argue that "spiritual junk food" is exactly what hipsters (and most other people) are feeding on-it's anything other than God's Word. Instead of pandering to hipsters, we should simply and lovingly point them to the Gospel. 

     If we want to "regain a taste for the good, the true and the beautiful" why don't we just look to Christ and His Word? Is that not hipster enough? 

Is Jesus dying on the cross to forgive us of our sins not "good, true and beautiful" enough?

     Honestly, here's what we see about this (and every other) generation:       

"None is righteous, no not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God." 

                                                                                                                         -Romans 3:10-11

The Bible tells us (in Jude 4) to:

"contend for the faith that was once handed down to the saints," 

but this book talks about "crafting a hand-made faith." Now, I haven't read this book, (although I did find a YouTube video of the author talking about his book, and I listened to the first chapter online, too, which is an amazing story of John's childhood and conversion) but I'm pretty sure that God doesn't want us to "craft" our faith "by hand"- whatever that's supposed to mean. It's not like all the Christians around the world have been somehow getting their faith off of an assembly line in a factory. In my own life, I was very tired of pastors who who were "hand-crafting" their beliefs by subjective means. I'm only interested in faith based on God's Word. 

     Faith comes from hearing the Word of God. Period. We don't craft it; not even by hand. 

 Photo By Jazmin Quaynor

Photo By Jazmin Quaynor

      This is, perhaps, the most bizarre form of Pietism to come along in a long time. Apparently, real Christians will obsess over carefully crafted coffee (or bread, or chocolate) to make the world a better place and, once and for all, validate the Christian faith by their keen ability to mimic the hipster trends of East Nashville. (By the way, my daughter used to live there and she worked at one of most famous hipster coffee places... let's just say it's not a model of "our truer selves.")

 In all of this, we hear no mention of our sin and our need for a Savior. Those things are probably mentioned somewhere in this book (I hope), but overall, this all sounds like another version of "Do More, Try Harder, Christianity" but with a hipster twist. Hipster Pietism doesn't say: "you should stop smoking and drinking, and start wearing a suit and tie if you're gonna be a real Christian! You should go to both Sunday services and Wednesday nights if you're gonna be a real Christian!" Now it's more like: "you should live more communally, locally and intentionally... And you should only eat and drink certain hand-made things that prove your sincerity and awareness... And you should only be certain of your own uncertainty... And you should somehow align your faith with cultural trends established and reinforced by non-conformists who all dress alike if you're gonna be a real Christian!" 

     It's very hard to figure out the actual Christian teaching that this video/book is promoting. The most ridiculous and ironic part of the (first) video? The actress writing in her notebook:

         "Why I don't go to church. Spiritual but not religious..."

Seriously? Somebody thought that was a good idea for this video? "Yeah, those churches are too fake. Unlike this this totally fake scene that I'm acting in... pretending to write a tired old cliche in a notebook... to help sell books."

The layers of hypocrisy are really thick... like the crust on a carefully-baked loaf of artisanal bread.

 Photo by Drew Coffman

Photo by Drew Coffman

     Closing thoughts: I actually know this author (just a little bit; he wrote a nice article about me years ago, and I used to visit his record store and see him at concerts in the Chicago area) so I was unsure about posting this; I have nothing personal against him at all. But, I really wanted to address the underlying issues here-not attack the actual author (even though I kinda did). Sorry John, if you ever read this.

      I would have probably read and enjoyed this book myself five years ago. But more recently I've become free from having to follow the latest trends to "validate Christianity" and "change the world" and now I want to shake people up to return to the timeless, pure Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

     I found that pure Gospel not in a hip coffee shop, but in His Word and in the CHURCH.

     I'm afraid too many of us Christians are off on tangents that distract us from the core of our faith. We don't need to try and hear the still small voice of "artisanal beauty" (or whatever the new trend is) to know who God is, or who we are. We can hear directly from God in His Word. Praise God for that, too, because this world is too confusing to try and learn from cultural trends and the latest "experts." 

     To be fair, I'm the one who is using the term "hipster" here; the author, John J. Thompson is not. I could be over-emphasizing the hipster thing, here, I admit. It just seems like the obvious target audience and subject matter based on these videos.  

       Finally, I love good, hand-crafted coffee, bread and chocolate, just to be clear.

                                                                                                                         -Steven Kozar

For more clarity on the issue of Pietism:

Here is an excellent article by Bob DeWaay called:

How Pietism Deceives Christians

Here is an excellent history video by Ryan Reeves about

Lutheran Pietism

Here is an excellent lecture by Rod Rosenbladt against 

Pietism on Issues, Etc.

"The User's Guide to Postmodern Christianity"

     Step one is essential: "Get in the loop!" What does this mean, you ask? Well, this thought pattern is almost everything you'll need to stay clueless within the confines of Postmodern Christianity. Once you start thinking this way, you'll never get out of "the loop." It goes like this:

     "Mean, angry, narrow-minded and judgmental people are bad, and whatever they believe is instantly invalidated by the fact that they are judgmental, narrow-minded, angry and mean. I get to decide if, and when, they are mean, angry, narrow-minded and judgmental."

     Once you're safely in this loop you won't need to carefully consider the truth claims of another believer with their precious little Bible verses. And, thankfully, you'll never have to learn anything about the theology and creeds that have been passed down for almost two thousand years. Remember, there are still old-fashioned Christians who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, and they are mean, angry, narrow-minded and judgmental. These dinosaurs want to conduct church the same old way and cling to antiquated beliefs that are out of step with today's social climate. You can easily ignore these people if you're "in the loop." Before you know it, you will have completely dehumanized them and-best of all-you'll never even realize that you've been the judgmental one all along! 

      To follow step two, say something like this: "That may be true for you, but it's not true for me." In days of old, this was only used for superficial matters, like one's preference of Mary Ann to Ginger. Nowadays this simplistic catch phrase serves a vital new purpose: it enables anyone to ignore God's Word with impunity. It used to be that a Christian couldn't just go around rearranging and reinterpreting the Bible, but now it's easy! You may substitute similar catch phrases like "I just feel like it's not wrong for me" or you can even quote the great Bible verse "What is truth? asked Pilate..."

      Step three, in case you haven't already figured it out, is this: Don't read, quote or even think about the Bible. I know, I know, this sounds extreme, but remember this is Postmodern Christianity. Postmodernity is a belief system that says that no belief system is true. It's absolutely certain that nothing is absolutely certain. The Bible is full of absolute truth claims-that's why it's so exclusive, hateful and out-of-date. However, you will still need to make reference to it on occasion, so it's good to have some overly simplistic proof-texts handy. "Thou shall not judge" is the all-time most popular proof-text, so feel free to throw it around as often as you want. Just remember not to read the entire passage in the actual Bible, otherwise you'll see what Jesus really meant. You can even misquote it like this: "Who are we to judge?" or ""Only God can judge-that's not my job!"

      The Bible has clear rules about what is right and wrong, so you need to avoid all that. Remember, people generally hate God's rules, so you need to stay on their side; instead, make those Bible thumping "traditionalist" Christians seem like the real problem, i.e. they're bad because they think they're better than anyone else. You must ignore the fact that true Bible-believing Christians don't think they're better than anyone else-they are simply pointing to the unchangeable truth of God's Word as the only ultimate authority. Furthermore, the Gospel itself is only "Good News" because Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins... and we couldn't even have sins unless we were guilty of breaking God's commandments... and since God Himself gave us His commandments we are clearly guilty and in need of a Savior.... do you see how this all falls apart if you start reading the Bible? You'll just turn into a regular Christian-ugh!

     Instead of that, keep it simple and just say something like "I believe the way of Jesus is love" or "I believe God just wants everyone to be happy." Nobody's going to argue with that, right? For more ideas on how to misquote God's Word, just listen to any interview with Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, Doug Pagitt, Tony Jones or any of the hip new emergent leaders. With a good dose of sincerity and direct eye contact (plus some emotional background music), you can say almost anything in the name of Jesus!

     Finally, when in doubt, always prefer ambiguity over certainty and truth. Ambiguity is the magic glue that holds Postmodern Christianity together. What does this mean? I don't know, what do you think it means? Is it possible that the ambiguity of uncertainty is really just the context from within which our sense of community can emerge? I don't know, I'm just asking the question, because the beauty of relationship reveals itself through the self-discovery process, as we all find personal meaning together and individually. I'm not saying that anyone's version of truth is right or wrong; I'm just asking questions so that a dialogue can be established. Maybe there's a better way, a way where all of our collective narrations can form a cohesive, yet multi-faceted story. Maybe this new story can lead us to a place where fear and hatred will be replaced by mystery, beauty and ongoing book sales. A place with well-attended conferences and substantial speaking fees, a place of extensive radio and T.V. interviews and, ultimately, a regular guest position with Oprah. We must dream. We must hope. We must never reach any conclusions.

See how easy this is?

Now get out there and confuse everyone! You can do it!! 

 

 

 

(Thanks to the folks at Pyromaniacs for the memes)

 

 


For a serious look at the "Emerging/Postmodern" church, please watch this extensive video: